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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 279: Various Provincial Councils

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ARTICLE 279

Various Provincial Councils

If the extant acts from the Council of Tellus are accepted, that council should be dated in 417. Another council was held at Tusdre (Thusdre), a well known colony in Byzacena near Hadrumetum.1 Ferrandus gives us two canons from the latter.2 One canon orders a bishop admonished to be present in a council to be deprived of communion if he failed to appear unless sickness or old age excused him. The other canon gives bishops deputized for an ecumenical council the power to prevent those not so deputized from assisting at that council. Vincent of Culusa and Fortunatianus of Naples, bishops in Proconsular, witness in the Council of Tellus they had assisted previously at the Council in Thusdre with the bishops of Byzacena. They requested two letters from Siricius be read as the other bishops had also requested. Thus these two councils took place close together in time.3 Latonus, bishop of Thenen (Tenisus) in Byzacena, read one of the letters of Siricius.4

418 A.D.

According to an extant fragment, a Council of Tellus was held on February 24, 418 in the Church of the Apostles. Donatianus, primate of Byzacena, presided.5 Thus it was a provincial council held perhaps to prepare for a general council to be convened at Carthage because of the Pelagians. This provincial council is entitled the Council of Byzacena. Donatianus is given the title bishop of Tellus in some manuscripts.6 However Baronius shows through...

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